Tiny homes are becoming more and more popular, and new design ideas seem to pop up every other day. We’ve seen some pretty impressive micro dwellings from all over the world, but this miniature masterpiece from Tucson Arizona is officially the teensiest house on Earth – so small in fact that it is almost impossible to fit inside. Measuring a mere 2′ long by 2′ wide, the 4 square foot home is approximately the size of person, but thanks to a bit of ingenuity and space-saving design principles, it has everything its owner, 32-year-old Randall Walker, could possibly need.
Since Randall spends most his time at his computer, his main needs revolve around a comfortable place to write, and a storehouse for convenience foods. His workstation is the central hub of the home – in fact it is the only thing in the house. A 2 foot long standing desk runs the entire length of one wall – with just enough space for a laptop computer, and the cupboards flanking it above and below hide a mini fridge and snacks. The other cupboards contain a few changes of clothes and some of his research materials. At 6’3″, he can reach everything he could possibly need just by stretching around while standing at his desk. Since Randall appreciates the health benefits of standing while working, he doesn’t miss being able to sit down.
The 1′ x 1′ closet in one corner is actually a washroom enclosure, which was inspired by airplane lavatories: a small sink (the only one in the house) tucks partly into the wall behind the toilet, and a showerhead hangs from the ceiling. A cistern behind the building collects rainwater, and solar thermal and photovoltaic panels on the roof and south-facing walls provide enough electricity to run his computer, and heat enough water for a weekly scrub. Greywater from showers runs straight into Randall’s grandmother’s garden next door, so he’s forbidden to use soap or shampoo in case they damage her zucchinis.
The best part about Randall’s new home is the fact that it is mobile. With no floor and no foundation attaching it to the ground, he can literally pick it up and walk around with the house, moving it from location to location, as the mood suits him. It’s also a great form of exercise, as the house is fairly heavy, at 80 pounds.
This project came about when Randall was looking for a new place to live as he completed his thesis. Having been kicked out of his girlfriend’s apartment, he was looking for low-cost housing close to his university, but didn’t want to deal with housemates. The solution presented itself at a family dinner: he could build a tiny home at the back of the shared driveway between his parents’ house and his grandparents’. After plans were drawn, the family put out the call to friends, neighbors, and co-workers for building supply donations, and managed to build the entire home for a scant $200 investment.
Randall’s tiny house has been constructed mostly from those donated materials, with some clever up-cycling solutions like using empty egg cartons nestled between the walls as sound-dampeners. Rather than wasting space with a bed, which would only be used on the rare occasions when Randall doesn’t fall asleep at his desk, there are large hooks installed in opposite corners of the room, from which he hangs a “vertical hammock” when he needs to rest. “There’s a reason why people around the world sleep in hammocks”, he says. “They’re incredibly comfortable, and basically rock you to sleep like a baby.”
Randall is set to complete his PhD in Linguistic Anthropology in 2016, so he has many hours of work ahead of him. Once he achieves his doctorate, he’ll have a cheap place to live while he tries to pay off his crippling student debt, as well as the $200 he borrowed from his little sister to pay for his tiny home.